A New Way of Experiencing American Sign Language and English
                ASL Tales
What are the benefits for the DHH teacher in using ASL Tales with their students?                                                                                       - by Dr. Kristin DiPerri  
The design of ASL Tales ensures that the integrity of both languages -ASL and English- are presented in their full and natural forms. Further, the stories follow the rich tradition of storytelling. The vocabulary, syntax and figurative use of language is intact in both languages in order to provide true literature works. Often, author's of literacy materials for DHH children assume there must be direct translation between both languages. This compromises the beauty of each language by manipulating phrases to "fit". In so doing the richness of literature (in both languages) is compromised! A main goal of ASL Tales is to provide a literature experience in two languages that motivates children to want to learn "how to say that" in each language. This contrastive analysis allows children to see that when two languages are involved there are different ways of discussing a concept. In a Dual Language or Bilingual program it is precisely this ability-the use of metalinguistic skills - that supports the strongest readers. Examples of objectives (aligned with state standards) at various grade levels that can be developed by teachers using these books:
Kindergarten –Second grade (early elementary) Vocabulary Development- Using words from the story DVDs students can participate in various activities where they are asked to: categorize words (e.g. emotions in the story-scared, nervous, happy, etc.) given 4 signed choices the student picks the sign that doesn't "fit" in the category (e.g. "emotions"- scared, nervous, eating, happy)
Third-Fifth Grade (upper elementary) Identify and describe the author's use of language in order to explain how the use of dialogue contributes to a story. Using clips from specific pages, students will discuss why the character said what she did.
6th- 8th Grade (Middle School) Goal- Determine important ideas and messages in literary "texts". Analyze main ideas and universal themes. Students view a variety of paragraphs related to the story-those directly taken from the story and also narrative commentaries on stories in short signed paragraphs. After each paragraph, students will be led through a discussion of "main idea" and eventually asked to choose the most appropriate "main idea" sentence from 4 selections for each paragraph.
9th -12th grades (High School)  Goal- Critically evaluate literary texts to reflect, analyze and provide applications for character's actions. In this activity students might click on a character icon or a plot event. After clicking on a character icon the student would be asked to connect what they know about the character to potential scenarios outside the story. For example, the student could be asked to respond to various scenarios from a specific characters point of view (e.g. Why would the the Princess avoid traveling to various countries if she lived in todays world?)
© ASL Tales:2015
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